The use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology is being considered in Calderdale to enforce bus lanes and access restrictions.
Local bus services play a key role in encouraging people out of their cars, reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions and improving air quality. However, to persuade more people to use the bus network, it needs to offer a high quality, reliable and affordable alternative to the car.
In order to improve the reliability of buses across the borough, Calderdale Council has invested, and continues to invest, in bus priority measures including bus lanes, access restrictions and traffic light priority. The misuse of these measures causes delays to bus services, as well as endangering pedestrians and cyclists.
Enforcement of these measures relies on monitoring by West Yorkshire Police, which is limited due to resource constraints. To ensure those who are abusing the measures are caught, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet will now consider the possible use of enforcement cameras, initially as part of work on the A629 Calder and Hebble junction project and in Halifax town centre schemes.
Number plate recognition technology is used for this purpose in neighbouring local authorities and evidence shows they significantly reduce the number of unauthorised vehicles using bus lanes. Leeds City Council found that offences are likely to reduce by around 85% after installation of cameras.
Penalty Charge Notices would be issued for offences and any surplus revenue would be used to fund other highways and transport improvements. The initial costs for camera installation would be funded through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority West Yorkshire Transport Fund as part of wider scheme costs.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, Cllr Barry Collins, said:
“The misuse of bus priority measures is not only inconsiderate – it can also be dangerous. One of the enforcement options we’re considering is the use of number plate recognition technology, which would be initially used as part of development plans for Halifax town centre and along Stainland Road as part of the Calder and Hebble junction remodelling scheme.
“Improving the punctuality and reliability of bus services will also make the bus a more attractive alternative to car use, helping us tackle congestion, improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions.”
The item will be discussed at the meeting of Calderdale Council’s Cabinet on Monday 30 July at Halifax Town Hall, starting at 6pm.